Friday, February 8, 2013

Does twice a pattern make?

This week I had  routine follow-up visit with my radiation oncologist. I had radiation early last year to some spine and left illiac wing, and she has continued regular follow-up visits. We talked about my pain in my leg, where it came from, etc, and settled on it being sciatica, and she thought it was a great idea to do  physical therapy.

After I left, she looked at my films from my PET in December. At the actual SCAN on the computer, not just reading the report. She would have looked at them before she saw me, but I didn't know I should give them heads up on that, didn't know she would look at the actual scan. It's probably better that she looked at it after we talked about my pain, etc.

She called (personally) me a couple of hours after I saw her, after looking at the scans, and said she didn't like the looks of one of the bones in lumbar area and wanted to evaluate it in relation to the spinal cord, so she ordered an MRI.

That was Wednesday.

Yesterday morning, Thursday, she called me back AGAIN, personally again, which kind of freaked me out from the get-go. She said my description of my pain (that it was nearly constant, at rest even, was never really gone) was sticking in her mind so she went back and looked at the PET again. She looked outward from just the areas that she had treated before, and a spot on my femur jumped out at her, lit up. Not miss-able if one actually looked at the entire scan.

She called the radiologist who read the scan\made the report in December and had him look again.

Now, if anyone remembers, I felt that the report from December was lacking. It was like he got to the spot where I had vertebroplasty and got distracted...mentioned nothing from there down. I had mentioned this to Dr P, and to Dr O, and to my PCP/PA. Dr P and Dr O said they were going to request a re-look. My PCP/PA called him and asked him about that, and he came back with that all was fine in the pelvic area, no change, that's why he hadn't mentioned the area, no addendum needed.

So now my Radiation Oncologist calls him (and I can only hope she said, uh, you missed something obvious; did you even look at the femur?) and has him look again.

He is making an addendum to the report to include the findings on my femur.

She (Dr Z) said the area is on my upper femur near my groin area, and that it shows activity enough that the bone looks weakened. She said it is at risk of a fracture or break. She called an "orthopedic surgeon friend" of hers and he looked at it also, and they agreed that I should have a rod placed in the leg. If it breaks, she said, with the cancer activity, it would be nearly impossible to mend well. She said the rod is a simple, short surgery, with small incisions. She said he could see me on Monday, and had an opening for surgery on Tuesday.

Wholly Cow!

I asked which hospital, she said probably there (where she is) at Dessert. I said oh, I hate that hospital. She laughed and said that's where she is! I said her department I love, and they are the only thing I love about that hosp. She said talk to the orthopedic surgeon. I don't know if I have to stay overnight, or how long the recovery is or anything.

I guess as long as he promises me that I don't have to be in the oncology ward, where most of them hate me and I hate most of them, and that the surgery won't be in the Interventional Radiology dungeon/basement/spare storage room where my vertebroplasty was done, and if I get plenty of good drugs going in, and not at the freaking last minute, I could be okay with it, if that's where his opening is.

Dr Z said it's not an emergency situation or she'd have had me go to the ER, but it is something to be done sooner than later, sooner than soon even. So if the surgeon's opening is at that hospital, I guess I will go with it, after extracting promises from him, of course.

SO, the orthopedic surgeon's office called this morning and scheduled me for Monday morning at 7:45 A.M. to see the doctor.

I don't even get up to use the bathroom that early anymore; 

this is going to be rough. But here's the cool thing; the surgeon, we'll call him Dr M (I skipped over "N" in my backward physician alphabet), his first name is awesome. It's the same as Dr Cooper on the Big Bang Theory. He's also  young, about the age of Dr P, I would guess. I like young doctors; they haven't had as much time to get arrogant or grumpy. I think he works a lot with sports medicine orthopedic stuff, so maybe he is not like most surgeons, i.e. no people skills.

I was a little freaked out yesterday when I talked to Dr Z. It was a surprise, for one thing; surgery in few days! But I think my tears had to do with the fact that I had been complaining about my leg pain since before the PET scan (to both Dr P and my PCP/PA), AND I had mentioned the lacking and seemingly distracted PET report to everyone since then. And at least one of them called the reading radiologist, and until Dr Z actually looked at the scan and called him on it, he stuck by the original report.

I feel vindicated and angry at the same time.

I told Dr Z that she is so awesome. She not only looked at the actual scan, but went back and looked again when something still didn't sit right with her. I feel like I am finally settling in with a "team", and I finally can feel secure that someone is really looking at things. I really like that she doesn't depend on the written report from someone else.

As far as the hospital goes...if anyone recalls my nightmare experience in the oncology ward last was IN FEBRUARY! I don't like this emergent pattern. Yes, two in a row is an emergent pattern. I was thinking, in December, when I was choosing a Medicare plan, that I really hoped I didn't need to be hospitalized in 2013, but in my situation, hope was really against the odds, and better to plan (insurance wise) it as a possibility.

Last February was really a nightmare. I pieced together blog posts about it from texts and Facebook messages sent during my stay, but now I have the mobile Blogger app, so I am set for on-the-spot reporting. Seriously, NO oncology ward.

Here's the plan so far:

Monday 7:45 AM - orthopedic surgeon office visit
Monday 10:20 AM - lumbar MRI

Oh, on the subject of the MRI, I don't know if the RN will be there and be able to use my port. I am going to suck it up if she is not because this needs to be done. Also, I have gained a few pounds since my last MRI and I am honestly worried about fitting in the tube. I will wear the tightest spandex I have and hope for the best. Think sucked-in skinny thoughts for me on Monday.

Stay tuned...


tccomments2013 said...

dear shelli,

so, so glad you're on your way to finding definitive answers. your radiation oncologist - what a wonderful advocate! she really came through for you big time.

i will keep you close to my heart on monday - you and all you are hoping for, including the spandex!

love, XOXO,

karen, TC

Nancy's Point said...

Geez, Shelli, it just never ends does it? I'm so glad Dr. Z is on top of things. The other doc, not so much...sorry about that.

I'm sure you do feel angry and vindicated at the same time. Probably a whole lot of other feelings are bouncing around in your head about now too...

I will be thinking of you on Monday and thereafter as well for sure. Hope all goes well. Try to forget about that other February.

Keep us posted, friend.

The Accidental Amazon said...

Just read your FB update & came here to read this again...I hope everything went all right. It's not unusual to have a transfusion after ortho surgery. Sending hugs & waiting for updates, especially for when you can go home! You do recall that I am a homecare PT, don't you?? Out-of-state housecalls could be arranged.
xoxo, Kathi

The Dirty Pink Underbelly said...

Kathi, you are the rehab voice in my head; "Kathi said..."

Nanci, I'm going to have Dr.Z look back at the next previous scan as well.

Karen, I fit in the MRI fine, other than the pinning of my arms to my sides made my hands fall completely asleep!

The Dirty Pink Underbelly said...


tccomments2013 said...

oh, shelli, honey - i am so relieved to hear from you. i hope you are feeling better every day and that you can come home pronto. glad the fit into the MRI worked out (kinda - hands asleep - oy vey!) can't wait to get the skinny (isn't that pathetic?!) on all that's been happening.

love, XOXO,

karen, TC

The Dirty Pink Underbelly said...

Karen, I will try to get some delightful hospital tales up soon. I've been in a rehab center for a week now, and I've made a lot of progress, but not enough to be home alone yet. Thanks for caring! -sg